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[Sample Proposal for Senior Project 2.0]

Suzy Patriot

Ms. English Teacher

English 12

September 19, 2013

Senior Project Proposal

Essential Question:  Why are honeybees so important in our food chain?

Supporting Question 1:  What benefits do honeybees provide farmers and consumers?

Supporting Question 2:  What are the known risks that honeybees face, and what can farmers, communities, and individuals do to help protect honeybees from these risks?

Beekeeping is a family legacy.  In 1863, my great-great-great-grandfather, Charles Dadant, immigrated to the United States and began beekeeping.  He translated a famous text on beekeeping from French into his newly acquired English and designed a hive that still bears his name, the Dadant.  The company he opened, Dadant and Sons, is still in operation in Hamilton, Illinois.  Ironically, instead of inheriting my ancestor’s fascination with bees, I inherited my father’s fear of them.  While I do remember visiting Dadant and Sons when I was growing up, I also remember being terrified that the bees in the display hive in the lobby were going to somehow break through the glass.  This project will be a learning stretch for me because I have only a general understanding of how important bees are to pollinating our food and flowers and no experience at all tending a hive.  I am also curious about what everyone, from farmers with acres of crops to citizens with their small patch of grass, can do to help bees thrive. 

I have acquired a mentor, John Smith, a local beekeeper who owns a small organic farm.  I did not know any local beekeepers and my relatives live too far away, so I looked online for beekeepers, emailed a few of them, and Mr. Smith replied.  He is interested in sharing his passion for beekeeping and educating the public about threats to honeybees, so he agreed to be my mentor.  I plan on working with Mr. Smith to learn how to care for the hive, harvest and process the honey, and safely work with bees.  In addition to my work with Mr. Smith, I plan to do research online and in books that I hope Mr. Smith can recommend, to find out what is causing colony collapse disorder.  I am curious whether organic farms are better for bees than regular farms, so I hope he can help me explore that, as well.

In order to show that I have found answers to my essential questions, I will have a jar of honey that I have harvested and processed as I work with my mentor to learn about honeybees, as well as samples of the honey still in the comb.  I hope that I can find out what a collapsed hive looks like and how a beekeeper figures out what caused the collapse.  I plan to take photographs of various hives as well as each step in the harvesting and processing.  I will create a booklet or pamphlet that will educate various groups, such as farmers and homeowners, about colony collapse and suggest actions they can take to make the environment safer for bees. 

I understand that all the work I do must be my own.  While I can consult my mentor for guidance, it will be up to me to do the research and write the annotated bibliographies.  I will write honest reflections throughout the process.  I understand that if I commit plagiarism in my research and annotated bibliographies or falsify the project in any way, including forging signatures on documents, I will appear before the Appeals Committee/Advisory Board; in addition to academic and disciplinary consequences, my graduation status may be in jeopardy.